The announcement of the British squad for the 2019 World Championships has confirmed a rumour that Zoe Smith is planning a move from the -64 to the -59 category.
Smith, an Olympian at the 2012 Games and 2014 Commonwealth gold medalist, has competed at 64 kg so far in the qualification period for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. She has been in a tight battle with her teammate, Sarah Davies, with only one of them able to qualify for Tokyo. However, sources who have spoken to Zoe Smith have told us that she is not moving down to avoid Davies – rather, she believes she has the potential for a higher ranking in the lighter category.
Considering the performances of all athletes so far at -59 and -64, it certainly looks like there is some sense in Smith trying her luck at -59. If she can maintain her current level of performance while dropping the required body weight, she could target a top-five finish or even, depending on what other athletes do, the dream of an Olympic medal. The best total she has hit during qualification, 225 would give her the joint-fifth best total at -59, assuming all the nations with higher-ranked lifters choose to send them in this category.
Fortunately for Smith, the qualification system for this Olympics is designed to enable athletes to switch categories during the qualification period. The Robi points she has accumulated as a -64 will still count towards her qualification as a -59. See our Tokyo 2020 qualification guide for details.
The World Championships in September will be the test of whether Smith can successfully make the transition. It will be exciting to see what she can do!